How To Deal With Difficult Bosses?

We all as kids must have had great dreams. Some would have wanted to be doctors, others wanted to be engineers, few of us idolized our teachers and wanted to be educators. I often visualized myself as a sports hero or a business leader. Today I do head a business, so yes, the dream did […]

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We all as kids must have had great dreams. Some would have wanted to be doctors, others wanted to be engineers, few of us idolized our teachers and wanted to be educators. I often visualized myself as a sports hero or a business leader.

Today I do head a business, so yes, the dream did come true, but the journey was long and hectic.

Starting my life as a software engineer meant being an employee. There were times of appraisals and opinionated feedbacks. It also meant abiding by the instructions of ‘The Boss’. Life acts on us, and we let it do so.

Whether it is about following a wrong boss without questioning his/her integrity or surrendering to our need for a job, we let circumstances take charge many times.

But, continuing to do so means being foolish, and so is coming out of it without attaining specific skills.

Like every other employee even I have come across a few difficult bosses. The experience though not pleasant, taught me the art of rising above the small mind and looking at situations and people as they are.

How you may ask?

By repeating these words of wisdom that by not reacting and staying in the job, I have already accepted my difficult boss.

So, better to continue till I can, and that is how I learned that like all other problems in life a bad boss can be managed as well if we deal with the situation with these six-point approach:

Have a Vision

While working in challenging situations under a difficult boss, the foremost thing that kept me going was my long-term-vision.

This is the first step. It will drive you too. The moment you realize your boss is a bully, sit down and revise your vision, get clarity on what pushed you to accept the offer in first place.

The answer may vary – it maybe your dream job, or the company you always wanted to work for, or it was because you wanted to add value to your career. This clarity will help you sail through.

Be a Confident Communicator

When you are dealing with a difficult individual, it always helps to clear your point right at the beginning of the conversation, especially with a difficult boss.

Communicate confidently what you are looking for – is it mentorship or suggestion, or you are trying to show the progress you made and just looking for his/her approval.

Set the context right. This is because sometimes you may only want to clarify a point, but your boss may think that you are trying to show-off your work.

Miscommunication may happen due to both of you not being on the same page.

Hone your Skills

The third point is to motivate yourself by seeing this situation as an opportunity. When you are clear about your reason of sticking to the job, handling your difficult boss no more remains an option.

This situation will open your mind and teach you to explore the right approach.

In your mind thank your boss for giving you abundant opportunities to develop skills that will remain with you forever. But, for that you need to shift your perspective.

For instance, if your boss is unorganized, assist him in organizing his/her work. However, if it is a habit of him/her to be critical of you, then practice the art of taking criticism with a rational mind, rather than swaying towards self-blame.

Learn to be Compassionate

No person is bad for no reason, believe in it. It may be possible that your boss too is a nice person, but because of the hard times that he/she went through, they fortified their emotions.

This would be your fourth step to handle your difficult boss. Try to strike a conversation with this person, to know them better.

Compassion arises when you put your foot in their shoes and try to visualize yourself dealing with the circumstances that they did. It will help you empathize.

Agreed, that you may not become best of friends, but your perspective about your boss may change.

Accept the Situation

The fifth step after you try to know your boss will be to stop analyzing, and rather accept the situation.

Once you have the clarity of why you are doing the job, your mind will automatically start accepting the situation at work.

Your right reasons will make you stick longer, and your acceptance level will save your mind from getting discouraged despite the adverse situations.


Tough situations have the tendency to demoralize us quickly, as a result our energy level goes down. Meditation is one of the best ways to boost your energy levels.

Meditation simply means doing nothing, just being a witness to the thoughts that come and go in your mind. It helps keep negativity away and strengthens you to face any situation with courage.

Your peaceful interior will curb the bad emotions such as anger, fear etc., the main causes of stress.

So, I suggest whenever you get time, take a short break, probably in the noon when you take a lunch break. Sit in a quiet place and meditate.

This will ensure that the remaining part of the day goes well and prove to be ‘one step at a time’ in being successful in dealing with a bad boss.

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